Stop it. Stop the guesswork on fighting those almost-impossible-to-get-out laundry stains.
We have the answers right here. Not the easy stains like grass or mud -- but the big boys.
The stains you see show up on your clothes and you say to yourself, "How in the heck am I going to get that one out? I'll have to toss this shirt!"
We'll have to thank the extension agents at Texas A & M University and Iowa State University for the bulk of the research, as well as a certain 83-year-old gal named Norma Laverne (after all, my mom knows everything).
A few points before we start. One, fight a stain as soon as possible. If a day goes by before you deal with it, good luck getting it out. Two, if a stain is on a garment that is "dry clean only," do the right thing -- take it to the dry cleaners.
With all that said, it's time to jump into the wash tub. Here are five super solutions to five super stains.
The first dirty word? It rhymes with "Oh my!
No. 5: Clothing dye
The Situation: Johnny, a freshman at college, never washed clothes in his life. He thought mixing red clothes with white clothes wouldn't be a problem. Wrong. The red dye in that snazzy polo shirt made a mess out of that white T-shirt.
The Solution: Johnny, Johnny, Johnny -- you knucklehead. But don't freak out, kid. There is a way out.
First, you want to rewash that shirt as soon as possible (when it's wet!) -- and don't dry it unless the stain is out. Drying ANY stain tends to send you down the road of never-get-it-out-ville.
Back to the shirt. Apply liquid detergent to that bad boy and work it into the affected area. Once you see that it's starting to fade, wash it with detergent and one cup of chlorine bleach. IF the shirt were anything other than white, you'd use a non-chlorine bleach.
You can also use a commercial color remover (Rit, for example), but make sure you follow the directions on the package.
No. 4: Deodorant stains
The Situation: Ken wears a white shirt and tie to work every day. He also wears solid underarm deodorant to keep his cool while climbing the corporate ladder. Unfortunately, the underarms of his spiffy shirts now sport crusty yellow rings.
The Solution: Ken, don't blow your next raise on new white shirts. You can salvage your stained wardrobe right now.
First, you want to apply liquid detergent to that bit of nastiness and massage it into the fabric. After that, rinse it out and wash in warm water.
You could also pre-treat the pitted-out shirts with stain removers (like Shout). But if you do that, let them stand for at least five minutes before washing.
The key to all of this is to recognize the stain as quickly as possible. After a ton of washings and drying, aluminum and zinc salts may be almost impossible to remove.
No. 3: Motor oil/grease
The Situation: Deborah Marie just finished rehabbing her Harley. She's in the garage getting the hog ready for the road, when she slips and drags her jean jacket across the chain. Grease is the word!
The Solution: Deb, you have a problem. You better act fast, or you can just hang that jean jacket in the garage -- permanently.